Aug 18, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Bird Flu Epidemic Update: H1N1 Strains in India May Be Mutating Into More Dangerous Form

Mar 16, 2015 11:19 AM EDT

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H1N1 virus in India is said to have acquired mutation
(Photo : getty images)

A new MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) study had warned that the H1N1 strains in India may have mutated into a more dangerous strain. Acquiring mutation has made the virus more infectious and deadly than the H1N1 strains previously circulated.

According to PTI, researchers noticed that the H1N1 strains present in India contain new mutations in the hemagglutinin protein which make the virus more dangerous.

Basically Hemagglutinin unites with glycan receptors found on the respiratory cells. The effect of the virus depends on the binding of Hemagglutinin and glycan receptors.

India officials have denied this. They say that the strain is same as the one which circulated in 2009-2010. The H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu is responsible for the death of 2, 84,000 peoples world wide.

The new outbreak of swine flu in India has claimed more than 1500 lives this year in contrast with 218 in 2014.

But India's National Institute of Virology rejected the findings of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and termed it as incorrect. The institute said "We found that the strain analysed in the said publication and the sequence data of the original H1N1 virus ... did not show any of these mutations".

The MIT researchers have called for greater surveillance to verify the presence of mutation.

Ram Sasisekharan, one of the research paper's authors said "There is a real need for aggressive surveillance to ensure that the anxiety and hysteria are brought down. When you do real-time surveillance, get organised ... then you can come up with a better strategy to respond to the virus."

Presently precautions are being taken by the Indian government against the outburst of swine flu. India has started stocking diagnostic kits and acquired additional doses of anti-viral drug Oseltamivir.

However the Health ministry officials did not comment on the MIT article.

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